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Tinubu Bows To Pressure, reviews N8000 Cash Transfer, Unveil Other Palliatives

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Bola Tinubu

Following intense criticism of his administration’s plan to pay N8,000 monthly to 12 million vulnerable persons as palliative to cushion the adverse effect of petrol subsidy removal, President Bola Tinubu has directed the review of the cash transfer policy.

This was announced on Tuesday by Dele Alake, Special Adviser to the President (Special Duties, Communications, and Strategy).

He said the government will now unveil a complete package of palliatives to Nigerians.

The presidential spokesman announced the approval by the president for the immediate release of fertilizers and grains to approximately 50 million farmers and households, respectively, in all 36 states and the FCT.

Alake said: “You will agree with me that it has become part of the culture of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to dialogue with Nigerians who voted him into office constantly.

“The President covenanted with Nigerians that their welfare and security will be topmost in the Renewed Hope Agenda of his government.

In the last few days, the conventional and new media platforms have become awash with stories of the government intending to embark on conditional cash transfers to vulnerable households mostly affected by the painful but necessary decision to remove subsidy from petrol.

“The story has been widely reported that the Federal Government is proposing to give 12 million households from the poorest of the poor N8,000 monthly for a period of six months as government palliative to reduce the discomfort being experienced by Nigerians consequent upon subsidy removal.

“A lot of ill-informed imputations have been read into the programme by not a few naysayers.

“The administration believes in the maxim that when there is prohibition, there must be provision.

“Since subsidy, the hydra-headed monster threatening to kill the economy, has been stopped, the government has emplaced a broad spectrum of reliefs to help Nigerians.

“While it should be noted that the cash programme is not the only item in the whole gamut of relief package of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as a listening leader who has vowed to always put Nigerians at the heart of his policy and programme, the President has directed as follows:

“That the N8,000 conditional cash transfer programmed envisaged to bring succour to most vulnerable households be reviewed immediately. This is in deference to the views expressed by Nigerians against it.

“That the whole gamut of the palliative package of government is unveiled to Nigerians.

“Immediate release of fertilizers and grains to approximately 50 million farmers and households respectively in all the 36 states and the FCT.

“The President further assures Nigerians that the N500 billion approved by parliament to cushion the pain occasioned by the end of the subsidy regime will be judiciously utilized.

“The beneficiaries of the reliefs shall be Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic, religious, or political affiliation.

“President Bola Tinubu has always promised to prioritize the well-being of Nigerians, and he is irrevocably committed to the vow. A number of decisions taken so far by this Administration have buttressed this stance.

“You will recall that the President took a similar decision after listening to complaints from the business community/stakeholders about burdensome taxes, particularly the multiplicity of taxes they are made to experience. This warranted the signing of four (4) Executive Orders cancelling some classes of taxes while suspending the implementation dates of others.

“In addition, the President has also set up a Tax Reform/Fiscal Policy Committee to bring up recommendations that will engender a wholesome fiscal environment for the country and remove anti-business barriers.

“I wish to assure Nigerians that President Tinubu will continue to be a listening leader whose ears will not be dull to the views expressed by the citizenry. The President believes government exists to cater to the interest of the people, and he has demonstrated this so clearly.”

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Job Losses, Factory Closures Loom As Unsold Goods Pile Up — MAN

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AGAINST the backdrop of sustained pressure in the foreign exchange market and high cost of production, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN has indicated that inventory of unsold goods is escalating to levels now threatening the existence of companies operating in the production sector of the economy with attendant job losses.

Findings show that as of the weekend the foreign exchange market had recorded over 254 per cent plunge in the value of the naira since flotation of the currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2023.

Recall that the naira traded for N471 per dollar in the official I&E market on June 13, 2023 before the floatation of the currency, but exchanged for N1,665.50 to a dollar as at February 23, 2024 on the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), indicating a depreciation of more than 253.6 per cent over the eight-month period. The forex crisis is also stoking inflation, and coupled with high energy costs, purchasing power has continued plummet, stifling demand for goods.

Speaking on the impact of this development on the manufacturing sector, Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said: “There are reports that across the board, many warehouses and plants of many manufacturing firms are stockpiled with unsold goods manufactured last year. “The development is as a result of the devastating effects of the exchange rate crisis, inflation, fake and sub-standard goods, smuggling and other macro-economics challenges.”

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CBN Lifts Ban On BDCs, Introduces New Operational Mechanism

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In a major development aimed at financial stability and strengthening the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to resume its weekly intervention in the country’s foreign exchange (FX) market through the Bureau de Change (BDC) operators.

In 2021, the central bank, in a bid to achieve its mandate of safeguarding the value of the local currency, ensuring financial system stability, and shoring up external reserves, announced the immediate discontinuance of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

However, the resumed intervention, which would reportedly commence today for funding as well as Tuesday for collection, will see the apex bank inject FX into the subsector in a bid to rescue the naira from further depreciation against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar. The collection will be at designated CBN branches in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Awka, while details of the naira accounts to be credited for funding bidding will also be made available today.

CBN is also expected to publish the list of eligible BDCs to benefit from its funding using certain compliance criteria.National Executive Council of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) hinted on the latest developments through a memo to its members over the weekend.

The association also warned members that it will no longer be business as usual under the new supervisory regime of the central bank, as any infringement or infraction would result in outright revocation of license and prosecution.

ABCON said through the association’s various engagements with the central bank, in conjunction with ABCON’s strategic partners, CBN had agreed to its request, under the bank’s supervision, to inject liquidity into the market through a weekly intervention beginning today.

CBN assured ABCON that the new circular on the Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines to BDCs, which was introduced over the weekend, was only a draft exposure that required the association’s inputs before the release of the final guidelines by the apex bank.

To that effect, the letters of the guidelines were not cast in stone, the association’s leadership told its members, who had been worried over the sweeping reforms in the document, which, among other things, prescribed N2 billion and N500 million minimum capital for national and state BDCs, respectively.

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